Magic Mike may be steamy on the big screen, but behind the scenes things are a little more complicated. The movie's star Channing Tatum dished on his preparations for the upcoming sequel to the surprise hit stripper flick, touching on all of the awkward moments behind the finished product.
"There are a lot of apologies," Tatum, 34, said in a new cover story interview with Esquire about the Magic Mike 2 rehearsals. "A lot of 'I'm sorry that ran into your chin' and 'Let me take my thigh off your neck.'"
Tatum is leading the upcoming Magic Mike XXL as the movie's co-screenwriter, producer, and star. As a result, he has been appropriately busy with the second installment, dedicating himself to a strict diet and rehearsal schedule.
The hunky actor told the mag that he has two dance practices each day, "once by myself and once with the group." The group includes favorites from the original crowd-pleaser, including Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello, and newcomers such as Michael Strahan and Elizabeth Banks.
Taking a break from his skyrocketing success, Tatum welcomed his first child, daughter Everly, with wife Jenna Dewan in June 2013. He said this past May that his new role of fatherhood left him "fat and happy" — a physique that wouldn't do for his part as male stripper Magic Mike.
"I'm like T-minus I-don't-know-what to being naked all the time," he told Esquire, as he stuck to a strict diet, including a meal of a single chicken breast. "This is really fine… It's… what I'm doing. It's what I do… I would like a beer. I would like to have some crab. I love eating. But this is what I'm doing right now."
While he had to work to get his body back in shape, the dancing came a bit more easily for the seasoned pro. Tatum told Esquire that dancing has always been a part of his life and he first picked up the skill as a young man, diagnosed with ADHD.
"I learned to appreciate repetition," he said. "That's why I can dance. It's how I learned to act. I have a high tolerance for repetition. And for the first time in my life, I was busy enough that I didn't want to stop until I got it right. That never happened in school for me. Not once."
He learned his fancy footwork as a teenager in Tampa, Fla., picking up skills in unexpected places. "I wanted to dance, I just didn't know anything," Tatum explained. "Neither did the girls I was seeing. But their moms did. I figured out the fastest way for me to learn to dance was to grab up some abuela and get her moving on the porch."
The Floridian grandmothers served Tatum well, giving him his early skills, which then led him to a famous start as a male stripper. Fast-forward more than a decade and the bona fide movie star has found inspiration and money-making success in his dancer past. Magic Mike XXL is scheduled to hit theaters under Tatum's leadership in July 2015.
"When we sit down, we're really writing," Tatum told Esquire of his co-screenwriter Reid Carolin. "My partner and I make wholesale changes. As needed. Today, tomorrow. That's why I'm the producer, too. So we have permission to screw up the whole thing every day."
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